Jena Abernathy is a consultant in Spencer Stuart’s Board and Healthcare Services practices, based in Atlanta. Prior to her career in search, Jena spent more than 25 years in senior-level executive management roles in distribution, manufacturing and healthcare services companies. As an organizational and performance excellence expert, Jena brings a unique skill set as a strategic adviser for clients seeking C-suite and boardroom talent.
Seasoned business leader and healthcare leadership expert
Most recently, Jena served as managing partner of the board services practice for a national executive search firm. In addition to board development and board search assignments, Jena also led marquee CEO searches across the country, working with boards and designated search committee members to identify their next leader. She has also led COO, CFO, CMO and CHRO searches for hospitals, health systems, behavioral health centers, academic medical centers, foundations and private equity clients.
Before joining the leadership advisory profession, Jena was chief administrative officer for Premier, a performance improvement national alliance of hospitals and health systems, for nearly 10 years. She was responsible for developing, implementing and managing a comprehensive suite of human resources services and solutions, benefits and compensation, regulatory compliance and employment law and organizational development. In addition, she oversaw marketing, conference services and facilities. Most notably, she served as the executive lead for Premier’s successful Malcolm Baldrige National Quality Award.
Earlier, Jena led significant change and transformation roles in senior executive management positions with McKesson General Medical Corporation and Fisher Scientific International.
Jena is a noted leadership expert, author and frequent speaker, and has been quoted in The Wall Street Journal, Becker’s Hospital Review, CBS MoneyWatch, CNN.com, Fortune, Trustee Magazine and many other leading media outlets, as well as featured in Warren Bennis’ Leadership Excellence Magazine.
Jena graduated from the University of Mary Washington in Fredericksburg, Virginia, with a bachelor’s of science in business administration. She is the author of The Inequality Equalizer, published by ABA in 2016, which provides practical, real-world career advice. In addition, Jena served on the board of directors for the Charlotte Symphony Orchestra, the advisory board for MedShare and is currently serving on the board of directors for The Parkinson’s Foundation.